Rebel Wilson is excited. So why does the Internet want to bring her down?
On Wednesday, the actress shared her first Vogue Australia cover, a feat that she admits she "never would’ve thought...would be added to my life." Photographed by Nicole Bentley and styled by Kate Darvill, the Pitch Perfect 3 star (and proud Australian) is described by the magazine as "the definition of a modern woman: switched-on, unafraid, and empowered" — and that's exactly what she is. So it's no surprise that, when commenters were quick to judge the fact that a fresh-faced, laughing Wilson wore a black ballgown and oversized camel coat for the shoot, she fought back.
I never would’ve thought this element would be added to my life: Vogue Covergirl. This was such an amazing experience, thank you Vogue Australia and to all the designers and stylists who worked on this shoot! June issue @vogueaustralia on sale May 28th x Photography: @nicolebentleyphoto Styling: @kate_darvill Editor in Chief: @edwinamccann Hair: @brycescarlett Makeup: @patidubroff
One fan asked via Twitter: "Why is it that every time a 'plus size' woman makes it to the cover of a fashion magazine, they wrap them in the heaviest coats imaginable?" Others posted to her Instagram: "Shame on Vogue for hiding the curves;" “You don’t need that giant coat to cover up your beauty.” Some questioned whether Vogue Australia photoshopped Wilson's face and body, suggesting they were fat-shaming her by putting her in so much fabric.
Wilson denounced the retouching rumours by 1) noting that she had been exercising and eating healthy for the month leading up to the shoot (and, immediately after, indulged in some brownies) and 2) sharing a side-by-side comparison of an un-retouched image next to the one that was published (spoiler alert: there's no difference). Basically, Wilson insists that Vogue Australia did not fat-shame her — and we agree.
When Melissa McCarthy was shot for the cover of Elle in 2013, similar criticism surfaced: Why was the actress dressed in a bulky wool coat? We can't really know, but fashion media has always struggled with its portrayals of plus-size women, opting for overly sexualised or fetishised images vs. high-fashion ones. For so long, magazines — on the rare chance that they're photographing a plus-size model or celebrity — often go one of two routes: they shoot them in skimpy lingerie, or they crop the image to resemble that of a headshot. They're prevented from participating in fashion the same way a straight-size woman would.
As Laia Garcia wrote for Refinery29 in December, "when we ask for inclusivity, for equality, we want the same level of care, magic, and wonder that fashion has always been known for, and for all fashion lovers — from the minimalist to the maximalists, from the avant-garde to the classicists. We all deserve a chance to express (and maybe even discover) ourselves through fashion, no matter what our size."